Daily Archive : Friday December 6, 2013



    Northwest suburban police blotter

    Burglars inflicted an estimated loss of $11,100 when they broke into S&S Food and Liquor, Des Plaines, in the early morning hours Dec. 2. They stole a small safe, the computer that controls the surveillance system, broke open a lottery machine, stole cash out of the machine, tried but failed to break into an ATM, stole packs of cigarettes, two cases of Hennessy, and cash.


    Kaneland asking for 4.6 percent more in property taxes

    The Kaneland school board vote Monday to ask for 4.58 percent more in property taxes, to be collected in 2014. Of the proposed $52.2 million request, almost $9.9 million of that would be used to repay debt with the rest for operating expenses.

    Beata Candre

    Missing Schaumburg woman found

    A Schaumburg woman who had been missing since October has been located, Schaumburg police said Friday.

    FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2012 file photo, Jay-Z performs at the grassroots rally in support of President Barack Obama at the Nationwide Arena, in Columbus, Ohio. Jay-Z was among the top nominees for the 56th annual Grammy Awards announced Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP, File)

    Jay Z tops Grammy nominations with 9

    Jay Z easily led Grammy Award nominations announced Friday with nine, but left-of-center rappers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kendrick Lamar were among a group of new stars who took many of the major nominations.

    Kimberly Carlyle

    S. Elgin woman guilty of making false abuse report

    A South Elgin woman has been found guilty of making a false report child abuse, the Kane County state’s attorney’s office announced Friday. Kimberly Carlyle, 47, of the 200 block of Nicole Drive, was convicted Friday of two counts of disorderly conduct in a bench trial before Circuit Judge Susan Clancy Boles.

    Police respond to a rolled over vehicle that crashed on the slick eastbound lanes of Interstate 20 near Odessa, Texas, Friday morning.

    Icy storm slams Southwest, shuts down North Texas

    Earlier this week, many in Texas were basking in spring-like temperatures that hit the 80s. But by Thursday, Texas was facing the same wintry blast that has slammed much of the U.S., bringing frigid temperatures, ice and snow.

    A man who said his name is “Cotton” and described himself as a modern day ‘hobo’ (he said they now call themselves Freedom Train Riders) is photographed as he walked toward Interstate 40 where he hoped to hitch a ride and make it to Arkansas by the end of the day. Thursday’s frigid temperatures and snow didn’t concern him and would not hamper his travels because he says he carries everything he needs for comfort in his backpack.

    State-by-state look at wintry blast hitting U.S.

    A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of wintry weather. Some areas are experiencing frigid temperatures. Some are seeing snow and ice. Several deaths have been reported, most resulting from treacherous driving conditions. Hundreds of flights have been canceled and holiday celebrations curtailed.

    A pedestrian walks down the street after heavy snowfall moved through the region Friday in Carbondale, Ill. A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of frigid temperatures, sleet, snow and ice.

    Snow, ice storm wreaks havoc in southern Illinois

    HARRISBURG, Ill. — A storm that marched across Illinois was on its way out late Friday, but not before it dumped a foot of snow and more in some areas, had police scrambling to respond to dozens of accidents and forced scores of schools to remain closed.


    Obama, Bush, Clinton to travel to South Africa

    At least three American presidents will travel to South Africa to attend memorial services for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95.


    Elgin won't participate in Northwest Fourth-Fest

    Elgin won’t be a partner in Hoffman Estates’ Fourth of July fireworks show next summer, and city officials will instead decide whether to hold fireworks in town, or not at all. The Elgin City Council decided in a 5-4 vote this week to forego participating in Northwest Fourth-Fest after partnering in the event for the last two years.

    LISA HARING/DES PLAINES PARK DISTRICT Artistry in Motion dancers Medina Dizdarevic and Josephine Groves perform “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” on Friday at Des Plaines’ tree-lighting event

    Des Plaines welcomes holiday season

    It was an evening of holiday cheer in Des Plaines on Friday, as residents gathered in Metropolitan Square to light the holiday tree, be entertained by singers and dancers and welcome Santa Claus.


    Christmas tree ship arrives in Chicago

    A U.S. Coast Guard ship loaded with more than 1,200 Michigan Christmas trees has arrived in downtown Chicago. The trees will be unloaded at Navy Pier on Saturday to be distributed to needy families.


    New children’s exhibit opens at Waukegan library

    The Waukegan Public Library’s all-new transportation exhibit, “The Places You’ll Go”, will open Sunday in the children’s department, 128 N. County St.

    A flower is placed in front of a mural Friday of the former South African President Nelson Mandela painted by artist David Flores in Los Angeles.

    His dream still a work in progress

    The nation, thanks in large part to Mandela, is no longer an international pariah but participates freely in the global economy, sports and other arenas. South African companies have expanded across sub-Saharan Africa and are a vital economic engine for the continent. South Africa, diplomatically and militarily, is playing a leading role in efforts to defuse crises in Congo, the Central African...

    Santa talks to Isabella Kaspari, 6, of Bartlett at the tree-lighting ceremony on Friday.

    Bartlett has itself a merry little party

    The village of Bartlett kicked off the holidays with a merry little party Friday evening in Bartlett Park that involved Santa and the debut of the village’s new tree. On a chilly night, Bartlett residents nevertheless had a warm time, mingling, and watching as the new tree was lit for the first time.

    Ryan Eifert with Jazz Spectrum preforms at Mundelein’s holiday tree-lighting event Friday night at Kracklauer Park.

    Songs, Santa and skyrockets herald holidays in Mundelein

    The village of Mundelein and the Mundelein Park District held their 13th annual holiday tree-lighting event Friday night at Kracklauer Park. Jazz Spectrum and the Fremont Middle School Singers performed at this longtime seasonal gathering. Along with lighting of the tree, there were visits with Santa, refreshments and a fireworks display.

    Michelle E. Higareda

    Elgin hit-and-run driver sent to prison

    An Elgin woman with a long history of unlicensed driving has been sent to prison for failing to stop after she struck and killed a motorcyclist.

    Adam R. Bileck

    Man pleads not guilty to DUI after car ends up in Hainesville townhouse

    A man from Kenosha, Wis., accused of being under the influence when he crashed his car into a townhouse in Hainesville, pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated DUI in Lake County court Friday. Adam R. Bileck, 32, faces six years in jail if found guilty at trial. He is also charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

    The screen on an iPhone using Apple’s iBeacon, offering precise location technology.

    Apple app guides shoppers inside stores

    GPS will tell you how to get to the nearest Apple store. With iBeacon, Apple hopes to guide you around once you’re inside, whether it’s to pick up an order, upgrade to a new iPhone or shop for a pair of headphones.

    Linwood Nelson, who was infected with hepatitis C when he went in for a procedure at the Baltimore VA Medical Center in 2012, leaves U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H., Monday after testifying against David Kwiatkowski, a medical technician who infected him. Kwiatkowski was sentenced to 39 years in prison for stealing painkillers and infecting dozens of patients in four states with hepatitis C through tainted syringes. His victims have new hope for improved treatment with FDA’s approval Friday of the drug Sovaldi.

    FDA approves breakthrough hepatitis C drug

    Dr. Donald Jensen of the University of Chicago said he’s optimistic that new drugs like Sovaldi will increase treatment of the disease, which is blamed for 15,000 U.S. deaths per year.


    Famed salesman Bill Porter dies at 81

    Bill Porter, the door-to-door salesman in Portland, Ore., who was portrayed by William H. Macy in an Emmy-winning TV movie, has died at 81.

    Andrew Kozar

    Hanover Park man arrested in child solicitation sting

    A Cook County judge set bail at $250,000 Friday for a 27-year-old Hanover Park man who prosecutors say offered to have sex with an 8-year-old girl while a member of her family watched.

    Green Meadows Golf Course in Westmont could be improved as part of a proposed partnership the DuPage County Forest Preserve District might form with other golf organizations.

    DuPage forest preserve exploring possible golf course upgrades

    DuPage County Forest Preserve officials are exploring the possibility of partnering with golf organizations to redesign Green Meadows Golf Course into a “model facility” with accessibility for golfers with disabilities. If the idea becomes a reality, the nine-hole course in Westmont also would be able to offer various educational programs meant grow the game of golf.


    Emanuel appoints new Chicago comptroller

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that he appointed Daniel Widawsky as the new city comptroller. The appointment is subject to approval from the Chicago City Council.

    Cans of Heady Topper roll off the line at The Alchemist in Waterbury, Vt.

    Craze for coveted craft brews creates black market

    The practice of trading beer doesn’t bother most brewers. But buying beer, marking up the price and selling it is another matter. It’s illegal in the U.S. to sell alcohol online without a license.


    Fox Valley police reports
    Someone knocked over a gate on the 45W500 block of Dietrich Road near Hampshire between Nov. 24 and Wednesday, and dumped a large load of trash there, according to a sheriff’s report.


    Tri-Cities police reports
    Tyler J. Hummel, 21, of Batavia, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a hypodermic syringe or needle, at 4:57 a.m. Wednesday in the 800 block of North Randall Road, according to a police report.

    George Sakas

    Des Plaines hires economic development leader

    Des Plaines has hired George Sakas, Schiller Park’s community development director, as its new director of community and economic development, officials said Friday. Sakas, whose first official day in Des Plaines is Dec. 16, has worked in Schiller Park for eight years.


    Illinois Brass Band to play classics Sunday in Round Lake Beach

    The Illinois Brass Band will play holiday classics at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center, off Hook Drive west of Route 83.


    Boomers launch ‘12 Days of Giveways’

    Beginning Dec. 12, the Schaumburg Boomers will announce a daily "mission" for your chance to win a unusual prize in its “12 Days of Giveaways.” These include such opportunities as lunch with the 2013 Frontier League Championship Trophy, having the Boomers grounds crew mow your lawn, marching with Coop in a Fourth of July parade, participating in batting practice before a 2014 game and having an...


    CDC: Water at Marine base linked to birth defects

    Epidemiologist Richard W. Clapp, who serves on a federal board that has reviewed the Lejeune contamination, said the links found through the study might “appear to be weak” due to the relatively small sample size. But he said the findings are important because they show strong evidence the water that Marines and their families drank, cooked with and bathed in might have made some sick.


    Free trade shop holds open house

    Gifts of the World, a volunteer-run free-trade shop on the property of Christ Community Mennonite Church in Schaumburg, will hold holiday open houses on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 14.

    Randy K. Brattin

    Lawsuit: Jail denied inmate meds, leading to suicide attempt

    A 33-year-old Elburn man has sued the Kane County Sheriff, arguing jail officials refused to give him medication for anxiety, seizures and depression for nearly a week in December 2012, causing him to attempt suicide. The attorney for Randy Brattin, who is serving a prison term for this fourth DUI, says his client told jail officials about the medicine and a relative also repeatedly called, but...


    Amish girl won’t be forced to renew chemo

    Doctors at Akron Children’s Hospital believe Sarah’s leukemia is treatable, but say she will die without chemotherapy. The hospital went to court after the family decided to stop chemotherapy and treat Sarah with natural medicines, such as herbs and vitamins.

    Modesto Rosales

    17-year term for 2012 Elgin home invasion, beating

    A 25-year-old man was sentenced to 17 years in prison for his role in a June 2012 early-morning home invasion in Elgin in which a man and woman were severely beaten with an iron, chair and computer monitor. Modesto Rosales, of Elgin, faced up to 30 years for the attack on his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend.


    More gold coins found in kettles in Lake County

    Five more gold coins have been discovered in Salvation Army kettles in Lake County, the organization announced Friday. Four coins were discovered in kettles in Grayslake, Round Lake Beach and Waukegan. A fifth coin was found Thursday in a kettle in Lake Zurich, the same kettle in which four coins were found the previous day. In total, the gold in the coins is worth an estimated $6,998.

    Associated Press/Feb. 11, 1990 Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, raise clenched fists as they walk hand-in-hand upon his release from prison in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Mandela’s release from prison changed the world

    On Feb. 11, 1990, AP reporter Greg Myre was in Cape Town when Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. Mandela walked out of Victor Verster prison hand-in-hand with his then wife, Winnie, as people worldwide rejoiced. The momentous event rivaled the fall of the Berlin Wall just a few months earlier as a symbol of newfound freedom. Twenty-three years after its original publication,...

    Madi Carlson pedals as her sons Rijder, 4, right, and Brandt, 6, ride aboard the family cargo bike as they head to an after-school gym program in Seattle.

    Cargo bikes the new minivan for cycling families

    Cargo bikes can refer to any bike that hauls heavy loads. Many models out now are built to handle multiple people or loads up to about 400 pounds on a single frame. They can be a foot or two longer than typical bikes, and are often outfitted with a wheelbarrow-like box or shelf, in front or back. Some cost between $1,000 and $5,000.


    Buffalo Grove police, fire lead relief effort for tornado victims

    First-responders who live in the tornado-ravaged areas of downstate Illinois have a little more food, clothing, supplies and a supply of gift cards, thanks to the work of the Buffalo Grove Fire and Police departments — and all the people who contributed to the effort.


    Hanover Park man sentenced in $4.2 million forgery case

    A Hanover Park investment counselor sentenced in October to eight years in federal prison for bilking clients out of more than $4 million now has pleaded guilty to forgery. Steven W. Salutric, 55, was sentenced to five years in exchange for his guilty plea to forgery after prosecutors say he altered six checks to a landscaping company to make them payable to himself.

    City workers attempt to keep the streets of downtown Columbus, Ind. clear on Friday, as snowfall continued through the morning.

    Two die on slick Indiana roads

    The state highway department said it had more than 600 trucks clearing and treating highways.Spokesman Harry Maginity said crews were able to keep most highways in good shape. "It looks like pretty wet snow, which means it’s probably not going to be drifting,” he said. “If we had a drier snow, then the rural highways would be blowing shut.”


    Teen charged in Bartlett burglaries

    Bartlett police charged a 16-year-old boy Nov. 27 with two counts of burglary related to crimes reported at two downtown businesses Nov. 9. He also has been charged in connection with a burglary the same day at a Hanover Park business, police said.

    Craig Sheldon is all bundled up Friday as he plants fence posts into the ground in sub-freezing conditions, in Gretna, Neb.

    A state-by-state look at frigid blast

    A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of frigid temperatures, sleet, snow and ice. Several deaths have been reported, most resulting from treacherous driving conditions. More than a thousand flights have been canceled, football and basketball games postponed and holiday celebrations including town tree lightings and parades curtailed.

    Barrington Unit District 220 Superintendent Tom Leonard, left, coordinates the ribbon-cutting at the dedication of local artist Susan Hanson’s 35-foot-long nature mural at the district’s Early Learning Center Friday.

    Barrington Early Learning Center unveils mural

    In Barrington Unit District 220, children’s lasting first impression of school has been transformed from a long blank wall to a vibrant, changing scene designed to open up eyes and minds. The district Friday dedicated a 35-foot-long mural depicting a prairie scene spanning all four seasons in the foyer of its 3-year-old Early Learning Center. “It’s such a teaching piece,” Principal Barbara Romano...

    Laurie Hamen

    North Central administrator takes Iowa position

    sA longtime vice president at Naperville’s North Central College, Laurie Hamen, has been named the ninth president of Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hamen, 54, of River Forest, has been an administrator at North Central since 1996 and served as vice president for enrollment management, athletics and student affairs since 2002.

    Juan Rangel

    Head of charter school group resigns

    The head of the Illinois’ largest charter school operator is stepping down following concerns of nepotism and conflicts of interest.


    Arlington Heights man charged with sexual abuse

    A 35-year-old Arlington Heights man has been charged with sexually abusing a teenage girl. Thomas Benefield was ordered held on $30,000 bond Friday.


    Will County workers approve new 4-year contract

    Government workers in Will County voted to approve new four-year contracts. The new deal includes a 4.5 percent cost of living increase and changes to the county’s pay scale. It also raised health insurance costs.

    Carole Medal, executive director of the Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin, was named Librarian of the Year by the Illinois Library Association.

    Carole Medal ‘brought library into 21st century’

    The creative programming and community partnerships fostered by Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin has earned its executive director a statewide award. Carole Medal, who has worked in Elgin since 2004, recently was named Librarian of the Year by the Illinois Library Association. “She really just exemplifies having the library as a community hub and being connected to the community,” Nicole...

    Mount Prospect Park District officials are urging village leaders to allow them to build a 75-foot tall net as part of plans for a new driving range at its golf course. But course neighbors say the netting will be unsightly and lower property values.

    Mount Prospect golf course neighbors oppose range, 75-foot-high net plan

    Mount Prospect Park Dsitrict officials are urging village leaders to allow them to build a 75-foot-tall net as part of plans for a new driving range at its golf course. But course neighbors say the netting will be unsightly and lower property values. “Frankly, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that there will be golf balls that will go over this net,” the golf designer told...

    Theodore H. Moran, a longtime adviser to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence.

    Questionable Chinese firm paid U.S. intelligence adviser

    A spokesman for intellegence director James Clapper’s office confirmed Friday that Theodore Moran was no longer associated with the intelligece council “effective September 2013” but declined to answer further questions, citing the U.S. Privacy Act. Moran declined to discuss the matter.


    Court case could mean ‘death’ of software patents

    Justices decided to hear an appeal from electronic marketplace Alice Corp., in its attempt to patent its computer-implemented escrow systems, software, and methods. It is being challenged by CLS Bank International.

    A stretch of Hawley Street in Mundelein is being eyed for widening and repairs. A public hearing is planned for Dec. 16.

    Public hearing planned for Mundelein road project

    If you've got concerns about Mundelein's plans to use eminent domain to purchase land for a Hawley Street improvement project, you can share them at a Dec. 16 public hearing. It’s the first time in more than 40 years that village officials have considered using their powers of eminent domain to acquire property. “No one’s getting kicked out of their homes,” Mayor Steve...

    Lori Bein

    Roselle Dist. 12 chief named new Arlington Hts. Dist. 25 superintendent

    The Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 school board has appointed Roselle Elementary District 12 Superintendent Lori Bein to be its superintendent beginning next summer. Bein will succeed retiring District 25 Superintendent Sarah Jerome on July 1. "I look forward to collaborating with the board, administration, teachers, staff, families and community members to continue to provide the best...

    Students from the Grayslake Central High School’s student council and public service practicum packaged up 50,000 pounds of food on Friday for their 21st Annual Food Drive.

    Grayslake Central’s food drive collects 50,000 pounds

    More than 50,000 pounds of food was collected for Grayslake Central High School’s 21st Annual Food Drive. On Friday, students from the student council and the public service practicum teamed up to organize and box the items, forming human food chains in the process. “Our students take a tremendous amount of pride in knowing that they are part of the biggest student-organized food...

    Boys and girls lacrosse clubs at Naperville North and Naperville Central high schools will remain clubs for the spring season, but the school board could consider deeming them official sports by spring 2015.

    District 203 studying ways to add ‘new’ sports

    Girls and boys lacrosse clubs at Naperville Central and Naperville North high schools will not become official school sports this year, but Naperville Unit District 203 is developing a process for evaluating ways to allow lacrosse to be added by spring 2015. Board members this week began discussing a process developed after lacrosse players and parents approached them in September seeking...

    Naperville Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in a hit-and-run accident Monday afternoon at Washington Street and Jefferson Avenue in the city’s downtown.

    Naperville police seek hit-and-run driver

    Naperville police are searching for the driver of a red hatchback who struck a pedestrian Monday afternoon in the city’s downtown and then left the scene.

    Greg Stimpson of Wood Dale checks facet angles and other possible imperfections through his loupe, before removing this piece of glass from the faceting machine.

    Moving Picture: Wood Dale man turns rocks into jewels

    You could say there are many facets to the life of Wood Dale resident Greg Stimpson. His hobby is faceting gem stones. After discovering the art of turning rough stone and rock into polished pieces, Stimpson became involved in the hobby in his retirement. Until then, he was like most people, unaware of how stones in jewelry came to be. “I guarantee you they don't grow that way,” he...

    A woman walks Thursday near a radiation head that was part of a radiation therapy machine, in the patio of the family who found the abandoned equipment in a nearby field in the village of Hueypoxtla, Mexico.

    Police seal off hospital treating radiation victims

    An official confirmed Mexican media reports that six have been admitted to the general hospital in the city of Pachuca and may have been exposed to a stolen source of cobalt-60.


    Lions Club to host fundraiser for holiday food/toy basket project

    Page 2The South Elgin Lions Club is hosting a fundraiser with Wise Guys Pizzeria in South Elgin to benefit the club’s annual Christmas food and toy baskets program. This year, the goal is to raise more money and collect more food in order to serve more members of the community. Wise Guys Pizzeria will split the proceeds 50/50 with the Lions Club from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11.


    Group coming to Glen Ellyn to focus on insurance cancellations

    A group focusing on people whose insurance has been canceled due to Affordable Care Act requirements is coming to College of DuPage’s Glen Ellyn campus. The nonprofit group called Independent Women’s Voice will launch its “My Cancellation” town-hall tour Saturday to answer questions and “give a voice” to those with canceled health insurance policies, organizers say.

    City of Paris Street Department employees use clear a large tree that fell blocking a road. A winter storm moved into North East Texas Friday, Dec. 6 2013 bringing with it freezing rain, ice and temperatures in the low 20’s.

    ‘Ice Friday’ bears down on Texas, much of Midwest

    As Texas residents prepared for what one hardware store manager called “Ice Friday,” schools started canceling classes and thousands of shoppers jammed store aisles to buy milk, pet food and other supplies. Texas was facing the same wintry blast that’s hitting much of the U.S., bringing frigid temperatures, ice and snow. Dallas Home Depot manager James McGilberry said the store was running out of...

    The death of Nelson Mandela was featured prominently on newspapers across the globe, including this one in Nigeria.

    World mourns Mandela, struggles to find the words

    For most of the world, his name is synonymous with courage and perseverance. Leaders and citizens, athletes and artists remembered Nelson Mandela on Friday — though many struggled to find words big enough to describe the man who changed the face of South Africa and inspired a continent and a world: a colossus, a father figure, a giant baobab tree providing shade for an entire nation.


    Russia: Pilot in crash may have had fake license

    Russian investigators said Friday that the pilot who sent a Boeing 737 into a near-vertical dive that killed all 50 people on board might have had a fake license. Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said that the investigators believe some pilots working for small regional Russian airlines aren’t properly trained but have received fake licenses in centers certified by the aviation...

    Onyango Obama, the 69-year-old, Kenyan-born half-brother of President Barack Obama’s estranged father, was granted permission this week to stay in the U.S. after ignoring a deportation order two decades ago.

    White House changes story on Obama’s uncle

    The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama briefly lived with an uncle who faced deportation from the United States, correcting its previous statements that the president had never met Onyango Obama.


    Georgia Wendy’s worker drops pot in burger, arrested

    A Wendy’s employee who dropped a partially smoked blunt in a customer’s cheeseburger has been fired and charged with marijuana possession. A blunt is marijuana rolled into a hollowed-out cigar.

    A firefighter walks past the damaged Kuna School District bus at the scene of a fatal crash on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 in Kuna, Idaho. Authorities say one child has died and five people were injured, including four children, when a dump truck collided with the school bus carrying elementary school students in Kuna, a town about 30 minutes from Boise.

    Investigation under way in deadly Idaho bus crash

    It could take weeks to determine what caused a rural Idaho school bus crash that killed an 11-year-old boy and injured four of his schoolmates, a law enforcement official says.

    NOAA strandings official, Liz Stratton, informs reporters the pod in deeper water could reach as many as 30 animals and that they were about 11 miles offshore at midday, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, in the Everglades National Park, Fla.

    Whales stranded in Fla.: From despair to optimism

    When National Park Service volunteers Donna and John Buckley left a pod of 41 stranded whales Wednesday evening, their optimism was starting to wane. The couple had spent two days of trying to coax the animals into deeper waters. But the whales seemed fatigued and unmotivated. Yet on Thursday, the whales were gone. Sometime overnight the whales had begun moving toward their natural, deep-water...

    A well-wisher writes a message on a poster of Nelson Mandela, on which he and others have written their messages of condolence and support, in the street Friday outside his old house in Soweto, Johannesburg. Flags were lowered to half-staff and people in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in South Africa’s vast rural grasslands commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday while pledging to adhere to the values of unity and democracy that he embodied.

    Nelson Mandela to be buried Dec. 15

    South Africa’s president says Nelson Mandela will be buried on Sunday, Dec. 15. President Jacob Zuma also said Friday that a memorial service in a Johannesburg stadium will be held for the anti-apartheid leader on Tuesday, Dec. 10. Zuma said that Mandela’s body will lie in state at government buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday, Dec. 11, until the burial.

    Ronald Thomas Smith II. Smith, an American chemistry teacher, was shot to death as he was jogging in Benghazi on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.

    Students in Libya say slain teacher inspired them

    An American chemistry teacher shot to death while jogging in Benghazi was looking forward to his first Christmas in the United States with his wife and toddler son. Ronald Thomas Smith II shared his excitement with his students, and sent his wife and child home while he stayed in Libya a few more weeks to help the young people in his class complete their end-of-semester exams. His death on...


    Chicago man sentenced to 70 years in gang shooting

    A Chicago man is facing 70 years in prison for the murder of a man shot in his car on the city’s South Side.


    UIC faculty authorizes strike; no walkout planned

    Unionized faculty members at the University of Illinois at Chicago have authorized a strike, even as contract negotiations continue.The Chicago Sun-Times reports that despite the vote, no strike is imminent.UIC United Faculty represents about 800 educators who’ve been negotiating with school administrators for 15 months.


    University of Chicago selects new provost

    The director of Argonne National Laboratory has been selected to be the University of Chicago’s next provost.The school announced Eric Isaacs’ appointment Thursday. He’ll assume the post March 31.As provost, Isaacs will be the university’s chief academic officer. His responsibilities will include overseeing the academic appointment process and the university’s budget.


    Wisconsin center hopes GPS can help track healed birds

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Madison group that cares for injured wildlife is hoping to outfit rehabilitated raptors with GPS units to track their recovery.A Wisconsin Public Radio report says it often takes months to help an eagle, hawk or other raptor heal from a broken wing. When the birds are finally released, rescuers don’t know how many survive.


    Man charged in southern Illinois wreck that killed 5

    MCLEANSBORO, Ill. — A southwestern Illinois man is facing drunken driving charges for a fatal crash that killed five people.The Southern Illinoisan reports Darrell G. Delong was charged with five counts of aggravated driving under the influence and one count of reckless homicide for the Nov. 23 wreck in McLeansboro.


    Illinois tornado benefit concert raises $300,000

    BLOOMINGTON — Authorities say this week’s benefit concert for Illinois tornado victims has raised about $300,000 for relief efforts.Wednesday’s sold-out Rock to the Rescue concert at the Bloomington Coliseum featured Styx, REO Speedwagon and Richard Marx among others.


    State awards money to start on education center

    A contract has been awarded to begin work on a new $44.8 million center in Chicago to train students for jobs in transportation and logistics.


    Kohl’s tries overnight hours leading up to holiday

    MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Kohl’s Department Stores says it’s keeping its doors open around the clock in the days leading up to Christmas. The Menomonee Falls-based retailer says its stores will stay open 100 hours straight beginning Friday, Dec. 20 through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24. It’s the first time Kohl’s has tried the overnight hours.


    State offers tips on gift returns, refunds

    MADISON, Wis. — Consumer protection officials are urging shoppers this holiday season to be aware of store policies on returns, refunds and exchanges.Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection administrator Sandy Chalmers warns that many stores charge a restocking fee that may increase if the package is opened.


    1 million gallons of manure spilled this year

    MADISON, Wis. — State officials say Wisconsin farms spilled more than 1 million gallons of manure this year, the greatest amount in seven years.


    Health care town hall aimed at Chicago artists

    The city of Chicago is holding a town hall event for artists who are interested in finding out about health insurance options available to them under President Barack Obama’s health care law.


    Dominick’s closings spur Chicago task force

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is forming a city task force after the announcement that dozens of Dominick’s stores in the Chicago area will close.The Chicago mayor made the announcement on Thursday. He says the task force will address the economic impact of the grocery store closings. It will also look at marketing the vacant stores, ensuring food access and helping grocery workers.


    Deer hunter injured after falling from tree stand

    NEW ATHENS, Ill. — A 75-year-old man is recovering after falling from a deer tree stand in a remote part of southwestern Illinois.


    Deadline for Wisconsin turkey, bear permits approaching

    MADISON, Wis. — The deadline for filing applications for Wisconsin’s spring turkey and bear hunts is fast approaching.Hunters have until Dec. 10 to submit their applications for both hunts.


    Dawn Patrol: Gold coins left in kettle; $1,000 stolen from kettle

    Nelson Mandela remembered. Illinois pension reform becomes law. Gold coins in Salvation Army kettle in Lake Zurich. But one bell-ringer faces theft charges in Naperville. State of Elgin is strong, says mayor. Physician assistant in Palatine acquitted. Bulls beat Heat. Hawks take second loss in a row.

    Night photo editor Patrick Kunzer took this picture of Hampshire resident Jeffery Lawnicki and his award-winning holiday lights last year. Watch the video tutorial with this story for Kunzer’s tips on taking a great picture of your display.

    How to take a great photo of your holiday lights

    We know you’re not a professional, so we’ve enlisted one of our experts, night photo editor Patrick Kunzer, to teach you how to capture your house in lights. Watch the video tutorial and give it your best shot in the Daily Herald Holiday Lights Contest.

    Scott Niehaus

    Lombard village board approves contract with new village manager

    Lombard’s next village manager, Scott Niehaus, had a chance Thursday night to personally thank the village board for selecting him for the job. “I am truly, truly excited about this opportunity on so many levels,” he said. The board unanimously approved Niehaus’ contract Thursday. It runs through May 2017 and pays an initial salary of $165,000 a year.

    Doug Truax

    Now that it’s law, pension cuts fuel election campaigns

    Political fallout from the General Assembly’s vote Tuesday to cut public pensions is going beyond the Springfield Capitol to campaigns for the nation’s Capitol in Washington D.C. After state Sen. Jim Oberweis, a Sugar Grove Republican, voted for the proposal, one of his primary opponents for U.S. Senate, Doug Truax of Downers Grove, sent out a critical statement.

    The Naperville City Council is likely to place limits on mixed martial arts fights in town by prohibiting the sale of alcohol, requiring all spectators younger than 18 to be with a parent or guardian, mandating the events take place during the day and requiring the fights to be licensed as special events.

    Naperville considers restrictions on MMA fights

    State law prohibits municipalities from banning mixed-martial arts fights within their borders, but Naperville City Council members are likely to do what many of them consider the next best thing: impose regulations on attendance, event timing and alcohol sales. “These (fights) can take place without a lot of damage to the community, and I’m not willing to step in and ban them...


    Schaumburg to lower property tax a fourth time

    Schaumburg officials expect to follow through next Tuesday on earlier projections showing they would reduce their 4-year-old property tax levy by another 1 percent. Contrary to many suburban communities and taxing bodies, down is the only direction Schaumburg’s levy has gone since it was introduced — to much public outcry — at $23.7 million in December 2009.

    Angelo DiLiberti of South Elgin has campaigned for the anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to become a national holiday, saying the attack inspired and unified the country.

    St. Charles honors South Elgin WWII vet inspired by Pearl Harbor attack

    South Elgin Resident Angelo DiLiberti was a young man listening to his favorite radio programs when news of the attack on Pearl Harbor hit the airwaves. Like many, he was called to serve in the Army. On Saturday, he will remember strength, not defeat. "I’m not one of those guys who remembers Pearl Harbor as a defeat. It was a disaster, but it inspired and unified all of us."

    A perfect reflection of a water lily at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe this past fall.

    Images: Photo Contest Finalists
    Each week you submit your favorite photo. We pick the best of the bunch and select 12 finalists. Here are the finalists for the week of December 2nd.



    Mudd, Keefe pace Libertyville win

    Sydney Mudd scored 14 points and Claire Keefe added 12, as Libertyville’s girls basketball team defeated host Lake Forest 47-36 Friday night. The win hiked the Wildcats’ record to 2-5 and 1-1 in the North Suburban Lake Division.

    Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, center, raises his arms after the referee stopped play on a delayed penalty during the second period against the Ducks on Friday night at the United Center.

    No panic in Hawks after another tough loss

    It hasn't been often over the past four-plus seasons that the Blackhawks have had to try and explain a three-game losing streak. But that's the reality of their situation following Friday's 3-2 loss to Anaheim in a shootout at the United Center. Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said this is no time to panic. “You can't overreact to it,” Toews said. “You've just got to keep improving on the little things we do well as a team and know that if we keep working eventually we're going to get the breaks.


    Friday’s wrestling scoreboard
    Here are the varsity boys wrestling results from Friday as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Friday’s girls bowling scoreboard
    Here are the varsity girls bowling results from Friday's events, as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Friday’s boys swimming scoreboard
    Here are varsity boys swimming results from Friday's meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Friday’s wrestling scoreboard
    Here are the varsity boys wrestling results from Friday as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Friday’s girls gymnastics scoreboard
    Here are the varsity girls gymnastics results from Friday's events, as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Friday’s girls basketball scoreboard
    Here are the results from Friday's varsity girls basketball results as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Friday’s boys swimming scoreboard
    Here are varsity boys swimming results from Friday's meets, as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Friday’s boys basketball scoreboard
    Here are the results from Frisday's varsity boys basketball results as reported to the Daily Herald.


    Barrington buckles down, bounces Schaumburg

    Trailing 13-11 after one quarter, Barrington’s girls basketball team outscored visiting Schaumburg 13-2 in the second quarter and never looked back in a 41- 25 victory in the Mid-Suburban West opener. The Fillies, who ran their record to 7-0, were led by 6-foot junior Bailee McDonald’s 8 points and 10 rebounds.


    Spinuzza, Downers South hold off Addison Trail

    Both teams made mistakes and both teams did some good things. In the end Downers Grove South, led by senior guard Danny Spinuzza, defeated Addison Trail 52-46 to open West Suburban Gold play on Friday night in Addison.

    Buffalo Grove’s Courtney Meyer goes after a loose ball as Wheeling’s Nicole Zlotnikova, left, and Hailey Dammeier fight for control in the first half at Wheeling High School.

    Wild finish from Wheeling too much for BG

    Sophomore Maddie Welter’s fifth 3-pointer seemed to have Buffalo Grove’s girls basketball in cruise control on Friday night at Wheeling.It gave the Bison a 13-point lead, their biggest of the game, with 3:27 left in the third quarter. But the Wildcats, who had been trailing most of the game, seemed hardly fazed. All they did was hold the Bison to 2 free throws in the final 10:30 and rallied for a 45-38 victory in the Mid-Suburban East opener.

    Nick Czarnowski of Naperville Central takes a shot during the Lake Park at Naperville Central boys basketball game Friday.

    Naperville Central warms up to hoops

    If Lake Park hoped to catch Naperville Central still celebrating last week's state football championship, it was out of luck. The Redhawks showed no signs of a letdown, welcoming newcomer Lake Park to DuPage Valley Conference boys basketball play by handing the visiting Lancers a 53-29 defeat Friday night.

    Batavia’s Liza Fruendt (5) jumps in to the arms of teammate Erin Bayram (33) after beating Geneva Friday in Batavia.

    Batavia ends 6-year drought against Geneva

    Senior Liza Fruendt finally got to celebrate a Batavia win over Geneva for the first time Friday, though she did it from a most unusual spot — the bench. Fruendt did a little bit of everything in pushing her team to a 7-point lead with two minutes to go but then picked up her fifth foul. Sidney Santos quickly hit a 3-pointer to bring Geneva within 4 points, and suddenly Batavia looked quite vulnerable without the player who at that point had scored 31 of its 52 points. Fruendt’s teammates, however, kept their cool. Erin Bayram scored inside, Bethany Orman drained a couple free throws, and Geneva finished off a cold shooting game with six more misses. With a 59-51 win, Batavia notched its first victory over Geneva in six years,


    Nowling scores 15 in St. Charles East’s win

    St. Charles East 64, Larkin 32: The Saints opened Upstate Eight River Division play with a convincing road victory, highlighted by a 15-point performance from senior Hannah Nowling.


    Kaneland, Aurora Central fall short

    Walther Christian 66, Aurora Central Catholic 61: Despite four players finishing in double figures, the Chargers dropped their Suburban Christian Blue opener in Aurora. Sean Harreld paced ACC with 15 points while Mac Cowen and Evan Schuetz finished with 11 points each. Andy Czerak also scored 10.


    Only Glenbard North smiling after win over Naperville North

    Five Huskies scored in double figures Friday night, yet Naperville North coach Jeff Powers was not smiling much as he walked off he court.


    IC Catholic Prep overcomes Chicago Christian

    Every team has to battle through the peaks and valleys of a season, but a win on a night where the team didn’t play its best can sometimes make a season.


    Glenbard West optimistic despite defeat to LT

    Junior Kalen Starkey usually focuses on defense, but his Glenbard West team needed offense from anywhere possible during the third quarter Friday.


    Girls basketball/Fox Valley roundup

    Elgin Academy 31, Mooseheart 29: Thanks to big games from senior Susie Cain and junior Kaitlyn Pearson the Hilltoppers (3-3) were able to get back to .500. Cain led EA with 11 points and brought down 8 rebounds while Pearson had 10 points to go along with 5 steals on the night.Westminster Christian 70, Keith Country Day 2: An impressive display of defense and offense — all but one player scored for the Warriors (6-1) — helped secure the victory at home. McKaila Hayes led the offense with 9 points and 5 steals while Maddie Versulys added 7 points along with 7 rebounds and 3 steals.Crystal Lake South 62, McHenry 42: The Gators (4-4, 1-1) were able to pick up their first Fox Valley Conference Valley Division win of the season on the road. Leading all scorers, Chanel Fanter paced the CLS offense with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, while Sara Mickow posted a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards.St, Charles East 64, Larkin 32: Scoring nearly half of her team’s points, Victoria Patterson was not able to lift the Royals (1-4, 0-1 UEC River) at home. Patterson scored 14 points, with 9 of those coming in the third quarter, while Alyssa McGhee added 6 points including a 3-pointer.Hersey 57, Bartlett 36: The Hawks (3-4) had trouble getting their offense going in this nonconference loss. Ally Giampapa led Bartlett with 11 points including her team’s only 3-pointer. Sophomores Nichole Gerdevich and Kaitlin Brohan added 7 and 6 points respectively.Hampshire 56, Grayslake North 46: Sara Finn was dominate offensively for the Whip-Purs (5-2, 1-1) who earned their first FVC Fox victory at home. Finn had 19 points and added 4 rebounds with 2 assists, while Emma Benoit secured a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.Huntley 66, Dundee-Crown 44: The Red Raiders (8-0, 1-0 FVC Valley) continued their hot start to the season thanks to the hot hands of the Andrews sisters. Sam Andrews and her sister Ali combined for over half of their team’s points with 28 and 11 respectively while Ali also had a block. Meanwhile, the Chargers (1-7, 0-1) are still looking to find some rhythm going forward. Melissa Barker led the team with 13 points, hitting on 3 3-pointers while Lauren Lococo added 7 points.


    Neuqua Valley puts press on Metea Valley

    Neuqua Valley’s press was so effective against host and District 204 rival Metea Valley on Friday that at times the Wildcats seemed to have more than five players on the court. The Neuqua guards repeatedly stole the ball and that led to transition baskets on the other end that helped the visitors to a 71-47 girls basketball victory over the Mustangs in Aurora.


    St. Edward makes it 7-0

    The St. Edward boys basketball team made it seven straight wins to start the season Friday night with a 62-46 win over Illinois Math and Sciences Academy in the third round of the Aurora Christian Classic.


    St. Charles North survives Streamwood’s comeback

    After a furious rally trimmed a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to 45-42 Friday night, Streamwood needed St. Charles North’s Morgan Rosencrants to miss the front end of a 1-and-1 for a chance at a game-tying 3-pointer. As Rosencrants stepped to the free-throw line with 3.3 seconds remaining, she repeated one word over and over in her head.


    Marmion pushes St. Francis to limit

    Regardless of St. Francis guard Jason Sullivan swishing the first three shots he took, all 3-pointers, a boys basketball game between the Spartans and Marmion Cadets is usually a four-quarter deal. Friday’s outing turned into the typical Suburban Christian Conference nailbiter, St. Francis eking out a 46-42 SCC Blue victory at the Spyglass Athletic Center in Wheaton.


    Carmel tops Cary-Grove to continue hot start

    They will have to dust off the record books in Mundelein if the Carmel Catholic boys basketball team keeps winning like it did at Cary-Grove Friday night, 64-31. It was the sixth straight win to open the season for deep, experienced Carmel, which returns the bulk of the players responsible for last year’s Class 3A sectional final appearance. The Trojans slipped to 2-3.

    Vernon Hills forward Kasey Firnbach turns the corner heading under the basket against Antioch guard Shannon Zogran on Friday at Antioch.

    Smith, Vernon Hills step it up

    Dressed in full uniform and sporting her familiar headband, Lauren Webb took part in Vernon Hills’ pregame warm-up at Antioch on Friday night, jogging effortlessly and seemingly pain-free. If that wasn’t positive news enough for the Cougars, their performance on the court was even more encouraging. Playing a squad that’s probably Tim Borries’ best in his seven seasons as Sequoits head coach, Vernon Hills led from start to finish in capturing a 58-44 decision. It was the 31st straight win in North Suburban Prairie play for the two-time defending division champs.

    Elgin’s Abraham Arduno wrestles Bartlett’s Kolin Steele at the 182 pound weight during the 10th anniversary Remembrance match Friday at Elgin High School.

    A night to remember at Elgin High

    When Tim Johnston received word during his father’s wake in March that Elgin High School would remember the late Irv Johnston in a special way during the 10th Annual Elgin-Bartlett Remembrance meet Friday, he admittedly said it was initially hard to take. “When they told us,” Tim Johnston said of the dedication of Elgin’s new wrestling mat, “it was kind of a difficult moment. But it’s good to know there’s still people out there who remember the things that (his dad has) given to the community and it’s pretty special.”


    Smart (30 points) leads St. Viator win

    St. Viator junior Roosevelt Smart made three 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 30 points as the visiting Lions rolled past host Wheaton Academy 75-50 on Friday in nonconference play.

    Rick West/rwest@dailyherald.com The Geneva starters celebrate from the bench after beating Batavia in a blowout during Friday's game in Batavia.

    Geneva pulls away from Batavia in 2nd half

    Geneva basketball coach Phil Ralston admittedly entered Friday night’s game against Batavia with a great deal of concern. He departed the Batavia gym with a great deal of optimism toward the future after his team’s 68-47 Upstate Eight Conference River Division victory.

    Bowling Green offensive lineman David Kekuewa lifts wide receiver Ronnie Moore after Moore scored during the first half Friday against NIU.

    Bowling Green stuns NIU 47-27

    Matt Johnson threw four of his career-high five touchdown passes in the first half and Bowling Green routed No. 16 Northern Illinois 47-27 on Friday night for the Mid-American Conference title, ending the Huskies’ shot at playing in a marquee bowl game. The Northern Illinois (12-1) loss improves the chances of Baylor or Oregon being an at-large team in a BCS bowl game.


    Barrington speaks up, takes down Schaumburg

    Barrington’s youthful team delivered a striking statement of intent by defeating Mid-Suburban West rival Schaumburg with a 30-23 wrestling victory late Friday night before a big crowd. From the time the first match at 160 pounds opened the night until the final whistle brought an end to the proceedings, the cozy surroundings of the Saxons small gym roared its approval as the hosts hoped to draw first blood in an effort to end the Broncos’ three-year reign in the division.

    Brett Favre is the offensive coordinator for Oak Grove High School, which beat Tupelo 14-7 for the Mississippi 6A state title Friday night.

    Favre helps coach prep team to state title

    Brett Favre is a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player and a Super Bowl champion. Now, he can add one more accomplishment to his storied career: high school state champion.

    Boston’s Mike Napoli scores on a wild pitch by Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

    Napoli returning to Red Sox

    The free agent first baseman with the bushy beard reached agreement with the World Series champions Friday on a two-year contract for $32 million.


    Wheaton North opens with win over WW South

    Wheaton North’s Andrew Slivinski said he and his teammates wanted to be prepared for a season opener Friday night that measured on the Richter scale.

    The Cardinals’ Carlos Beltran hits an RBI single during Game 2 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox on Oct. 24.

    Sources: Beltran, Yanks agree to 3-year deal

    Two people familiar with the negotiations say outfielder Carlos Beltran and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $45 million, three-year contract.


    Timothy Christian edges Glenbard South in OT

    Timothy Christian overcame several obstacles in its Metro Suburban Conference boys basketball opener against Glenbard South.


    South Elgin has easy time with Waubonsie

    One of the main goals of the South Elgin girls basketball team this season is to win the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division championship, something the program has never done.The Storm got a good start on that endeavor Friday night when it rolled to a 65-28 win over visiting Waubonsie Valley in the division opener for both teams.


    Arizona State routs DePaul 78-56

    Jahii Carson scored a game-high 23 points and had nine rebounds and five assists as Arizona State used a dominant second half to cruise to a 78-56 victory over DePaul.


    Prospect’s proven players produce at Hersey

    When crunch time came at Hersey on Friday night, Prospect’s two veterans, Bobby Frasco and Danny Thomas, took the leadership roles. “When it was close in the fourth quarter,” said Frasco , “the seniors had to step up.” The Knights and Huskies battled tooth and on opening night in the Mid-Suburban East. Frasco and Thomas took charge in the final 2:25 to pull out a thrilling 59-52 win for Prospect in Arlington Heights.


    West Aurora rolls Glenbard East in DVC opener

    Historically, West Aurora’s gym is not the place for a team to try to break itself out of a funk. Glenbard East went into the Blackhawks’ lair Friday night reeling with a 1-4 record to start the season. And the Blackhawks proceeded to be rude hosts in making that 1-5 and rolling to a 64-31 victory in the DuPage Valley Conference season opener for both squads.


    Stevenson answers Mundelein’s challenge

    Trailing 24-9 after eight matches, visiting Mundelein had its backs to the wall Friday night at Stevenson in this North Suburban Conference dual meet. The Mustangs did manage to make matters very interesting by cutting the lead to 24-21. But the Patriots came through when the chips were down to capture a 36-24 NSC Lake Division victory in Lincolnshire.


    Mundelein shows winning mettle against Warren

    The first four minutes of the North Suburban Conference Lake Division boys basketball opener for host Mundelein against Warren on Friday night was worth watching for the Mustangs and coach Brian Evans. Since Mundelein hadn’t played a game in 13 days, the rust, if there was any, was sure to show in that span. Not only was there no rust on the game of the Lady Mustangs in the first four minutes, but they were downright squeaky clean for all 32 minutes, and they did so at the expense of the Blue Devils. Thanks in large part to an 18-point, 5 rebound performance from junior Maggie Mahar and a 13-point, 4 steal effort from senior Lauren Rouse, Mundelein rolled in its conference opener 57-25 over Warren. It was the second loss in conference and fourth loss in a row for Warren (1-6, 0-2).

    Wheeling’s Jeremy Stephani goes up against Buffalo Grove’s Ryan Williams in the second half of action Friday at Wheeling.

    Big finish lifts Wheeling past Buffalo Grove

    With one Mid-Suburban East boys basketball game in the books, Wheeling has already equaled its divisional victory total from last year. The host Wildcats scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 3-point deficit entering the period and top Buffalo Grove 55-50 on Friday. Chris Pierro and Jeremy Stephani scored 16 points apiece for Wheeling (4-1, 1-0). Pierro made a pair of 3s and Stephani had 1.


    Buffalo Gears up for title defense with win at Hoffman Estates

    The defending Mid-Suburban East boys swimming champion passed its first test under new leadership, as Tim O’Hagan made his first meet as the program’s head coach a successful one. The Bison topped host Hoffman Estates 113.75 as all the MSL schools competed in matchups with teams from the opposite division on Friday.


    Carlson, Fremd surge ahead at Hoffman

    Ben Carlson isn’t usually a slow starter. But after the first quarter, the 6-foot-6 forward had barely touched the ball and still had not taken a shot.“I wasn’t getting the ball early,” Carlson said. “So I decided to create my own shot on that little turnaround in the second quarter and I really think it got me going.” It got Fremd going, too. The Vikings scored 16 unanswered points and were able to turn that spurt into an easy 60-29 victory over host Hoffman Estates on Friday.


    Prairie Ridge surprises Cary-Grove

    When talking about the preseason favorites in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division Huntley, Cary-Grove and Crystal Lake South were the first teams mentioned by most. You can add Prairie Ridge to that list. The Wolves followed an impressive win over South on Tuesday with a solid effort in a 65-54 victory over four-time defending division champion Cary-Grove in FVC Valley action in Crystal Lake Friday night.


    Last-second bucket lifts Barrington

    Being in control for most of a game is overrated. Schaumburg had the lead most of the way from midway through the second quarter on Friday night at Barrington. And then Austin Madrzyk went from the guy setting the backscreen to the guy cutting to the basket on an inbounds play with 1.7 seconds left as the Broncos rallied for a 38-36 Mid-Suburban West-opening win.


    Elk Grove heats up in time to edge Meadows

    Elk Grove entered Friday night riding high from its 94-point effort and third-place finish last week at the Chuck Mitchell Thanksgiving tournament. Freezing temperatures outside and a stingy zone defense from host Rolling Meadows slowed the Elk Grove offense. But two key second-half spurts propelled the Grenadiers to a 47-42 win over the Mustangs in the Mid-Suburban East opener for both teams.


    Quick-starting Conant handles Palatine

    Sarah Mazurek said that in the past she “wasn’t able to rebound the ball all that well.” That sure has changed. The Conant junior muscled her way for 5 quick first-quarter boards to stake the Cougars to a hot start en route to a 53-28 Mid-Suburban West girls basketball victory over host Palatine.


    Conant hangs on at Palatine

    Conant’s offense turned it on in the fourth quarter but still had to watch the potential tying shot roll off the rim as time expired before escaping with a 43-41 victory over Palatine in the Mid-Suburban West boys basketball opener Friday.

    Vernon Hills forward Kasey Firnbach, right, and Antioch guard Ashley Reiser dive to the floor for a loose ball .

    Images: Antioch vs. Vernon Hills girls basketball
    The Antioch Sequoits hosted the Vernon Hills Cougars for girls varsity basketball action on Friday, Dec. 6.

    Images from the Naperville Central vs. Lake Park boys basketball game on Friday, Dec. 6.

    Images: Naperville Central vs. Lake Park boys basketball
    The Naperville Central Redhawks hosted the Lake Park Lancers for boys basketball action on Friday, Dec. 6.

    Batavia’s Jeremy Schoessling puts up a shot over Geneva’s Pace Temple.

    Images: Geneva vs. Batavia boys basketball
    Batavia hosted Geneva Friday night in a boys basketball rivalry matchup.

    Batavia’s Liza Fruendt jumps in to the arms of teammate Erin Bayram after a victory over Geneva.

    Images: Geneva vs. Batavia girls basketball
    Batavia hosted Geneva Friday night in a girls basketball rivalry matchup.


    Former Bull Korver sets NBA 3-point record

    Hawks swingman and ex-Bulls player Kyle Korver has set an NBA record by making a 3-pointer in his 90th straight game. Korver hit the shot Friday night for Atlanta in the first quarter against Cleveland. He broke the mark of 89 games in a row set by Dana Barros from 1994-96.


    Hawks swap Beach to Rangers

    :Former Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon was extremely high on Kyle Beach when the team made the left winger the 11th pick in the 2008 draft. But when Beach left the organization on Friday, traded to the New York Rangers, he did so having never appeared in a game for the Hawks.


    Bulls game day
    Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons at the United Center, 7 p.m. SaturdayTV/radio: WGN/ESPN 1000-AMAt a glance: The Bulls beat the Pistons by 20 points in Auburn Hills on Nov. 27. Since then, Detroit (9-10) has won three in a row, including back-to-back road games in Miami and Milwaukee. The Pistons’ scoring has been balanced, with SG Rodney Stuckey, PG Brandon Jennings, PF Greg Monroe, SF Josh Smith and C Andre Drummond averaging between 13.5 and 16.2 ppg. Drummond has been on a roll, averaging 21.7 points and 18.7 rebounds in the last three games. The Bulls have beaten the Pistons 14 straight times at home and have won 19 of the last 20 games overall.Next: Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center, 7 p.m. Tuesday— Mike McGraw

    Tony Snell of the Bulls was much more comfortable Thursday playing against the Heat than he was in Miami on opening night.

    Snell feels redeeemed after second try vs. Heat

    Bulls rookie Tony Snell had no reason to expect he’d play on opening night at Miami. But after both Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler got in foul trouble, he found himself not only on the floor, but guarding LeBron James.

    Bears quarterback Josh McCown has posted passer ratings over 90.0 in each of the six games he’s played and topped 100 four times for a cumulative 103.6, seventh best in the NFL.

    McCown grateful for every start

    Even though he's got the seventh-highest passer rating in the NFL, Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown isn't taking anything for granted as he prepares to start his fourth straight game Monday night against the Cowboys.

    Joakim Noah celebrates the Bulls’ 107-87 victory over the Heat on Thursday at the United Center.

    Points to ponder in unpredictable NBA

    If the events of Thursday taught us anything, it’s that there appear to be no limits on what could happen during this NBA season. The Bulls could do well, they could struggle, Miami could be a one-man, no-rebounder squad by the end of the season. Then there's the chance Derrick Rose could return. Let's check the possibilities.

    Real Salt Lake’s Devon Sandoval will try to stop Sporting KC from winning its first MLS Cup championship when the two clubs meet today in Kansas City.

    MLS Cup on the line with RSL, Sporting KC

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. — One of the participants in the MLS championship game went through a long-term rebuilding project under new ownership, complete with a rebranding of the organization, construction of a $200 million stadium and the revitalization of soccer in the surrounding community.The other participant went through a rebuilding project that took about a month.Sporting Kansas City, which languished as the Wizards for years, will be playing for its second MLS Cup at glitzy Sporting Park on Saturday when it faces Real Salt Lake, a club that jettisoned a bunch of proven veterans in the offseason in a push to go younger.It’s the first time that Kansas City, once a soccer wasteland and now a hotbed for the sport, has hosted the league’s title game. When the Wizards won their only championship in 2000, the finale was played at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.“We’ve made such a turnaround in all aspects of the club,” said Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes, who played on that 2000 team. “So much of it has to do with the ownership group and the vision and commitment, and not just their commitment from the financial aspect but also from their participation within the community. That’s been a major impact on our team.”Tickets for the MLS Cup were snapped up in a matter of minutes, which is hardly surprising. The club sold out every game this season, turning Sporting Park into a must-visit destination.It helps that the club has only experienced success since 2006, when it was purchased by a six-man ownership group headed by Cerner Corp. co-founders Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig.After a few moribund seasons playing in cavernous Arrowhead Stadium, and then a minor league baseball park, the club finally caught fire with its 2011 rebranding. New logo, new colors, new name, one that fit the mold of European soccer clubs. Sporting KC finished first in the Eastern Conference in 2011 and 2012, and last year won the U.S. Open Cup for the second time.The one thing it hasn’t done is win the MLS Cup.Frustrated the past couple years by Houston, Sporting KC finally broke through against its nemesis this season. A dramatic victory in the second leg of the semifinal at raucous Sporting Park sent the club on to Saturday’s championship game.“This is huge for the city,” said forward Dom Dwyer, who scored the deciding goal against the Dynamo. “I’ve only been here two years, but I’ve seen this grow. There’s more and more hype, and there’s more and more attention. You start to get noticed when you’re out and around the city, and a lot of people are talking about it.“It’s not just Chiefs or Royals,” Dwyer said of the two other professional sports franchises that call Kansas City home. “It’s Sporting, too, so that’s really cool.”Real Salt Lake has been a big deal in Utah for a while.The club, which played its inaugural season in 2005, has qualified for the playoffs six straight years, the best active streak in the league. Four of those seasons, Real Salt Lake advanced to the conference finals, and in 2009 it beat the Los Angeles Galaxy to win the MLS Cup.But a tight salary cap means clubs tend to walk a financial tightrope. Last December, Real Salt Lake parted with eight regulars — among them, Will Johnson was sent to Portland, and Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola to New York — and replaced them with less expensive alternatives.Even with the roster rebuild, the club kept winning.“Obviously not something we hope to do every day, trading away three all-stars at the end of the season,” Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey said. “It’s a credit to the veteran guys who remain.”Real Salt Lake made the finals of this year’s U.S. Open Cup, losing a nail-biter to D.C. United. It then finished second in the Western Conference to Portland, only to beat the Timbers 5-2 in their two-leg, aggregate-goal conference final.

    Kelsey Robinson

    St. Francis alum Robinson courting stardom

    Nebraska outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, a native of Bartlett, is conference player of the year. Again. Although, this is her first such award in the Big Ten. She left her mark elsewhere, too.

    Brazilian soccer legend Pele, now 73 years old, took part in the draw ceremony for the 2014 World Cup.

    World Cup draw: the strong, the weak, the lucky

    Who wound up in difficult groups and who got away easy from Friday’s World Cup draw (average world ranking for four teams in parentheses):GROUP A (24.25): Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, CameroonAs if the hosts and five-champions needed any help ...The Brazilians certainly benefited from the draw. This should be a stroll into the second round for the Selecao.None of the opponents in this group is elite, with Mexico and Cameroon not nearly the best from their continents. Croatia had to beat Iceland in a playoff to get into the tournament. Mexico had to do the same against New Zealand.Brazil would be a strong favorite against most any combination, and anything less than three victories would be disappointing. There will be plenty of pressure on the Brazilians in a country where soccer is almost religion, but Brazil won’t feel it here.GROUP B (21.00): Spain, the Netherlands, Chile, AustraliaNever have the two finalists from the previous World Cup met in their opening game of the next tournament. The nasty final in South Africa was not a display of the best Spain and the Netherlands, but hopefully their match in Salvador on June 13 will show the brilliance both countries are capable of.The Spaniards are on an unprecedented run of two European titles and one world championship. Although aging, they remain the measuring stick, with the deepest roster and a creative, attacking style few opponents can handle.But the Dutch are one team that could do so, if they don’t resort to the brutish tactics of the Johannesburg finale.Netherlands striker Arjen Robben says a friend told him to avoid Chile, but no such luck. The Chileans were a steady third in the rugged South American qualifying and certainly present a threat to the Spaniards and Dutch. Australia does not.GROUP C (20.25): Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, JapanA relatively even grouping with no clear favorite because neither Colombia nor Greece has a strong record of World Cup performances.Colombia finished second in South American qualifying and even tied 0-0 at Argentina, but such impressive performances don’t usually translate outside of that continent for the Colombians. Greece could sneak off with this sector if it really has discovered some scoring. It did so in its qualifying playoff vs. Romania.Ivory Coast is like many African teams: fun to watch and totally unpredictable. If star Didier Drogba brings his best game, something he couldn’t do in 2010 because of injury, he’s the most dangerous attacker in this group.Japan tends to struggle in games away from Asia, but has upgraded its offense and has a chance in this division.GROUP D (14.25): Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, ItalyThe Ticos from Costa Rica must be wondering who doesn’t like them.Their chances of getting out of this group are, well, pretty much nil. Even with England on something of a downslide and Uruguay needing to win a playoff with Jordan, the Central Americans are a distant fourth.Italy, winner of the 2006 World Cup for its fourth crown, should be a solid favorite because it didn’t lose in qualifying and it has some dynamic scoring led by mercurial Mario Balotelli to go with its staunch defense.The English have tons of question marks on defense and at goalkeeper.GROUP E (22.75): Switzerland, Ecuador, France, HondurasCall this the group of the Fortunate French.France has been either title quality or awful in recent World Cups, and it need be no more than decent to escape this division. The Swiss didn’t lose in qualifying, albeit in a weak group, and must show they can score when facing elite opponents. Honduras plays well in CONCACAF, not anywhere else. And Ecuador scored only 20 goals in 16 qualifiers, showing a distinct inability to finish.GROUP F (26.25): Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

    From left: Cameroon head coach Volker Finke of Germany, United States head coach Juergen Klinsmann of Germany, and Germany head coach Joachim Loew chat after the draw ceremony for the 2014 soccer World Cup.

    U.S. faces a challenging World Cup draw

    The United States' draw for next summer's World Cup in Brazil is very difficult, but it won't be impossible for the Americans to advance to the Round of 16 from group play.

    Auburn cornerback Chris Davis returns a missed field-goal attempt more than 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play of last Saturday’s game against Alabama.

    Auburn, Mizzou guarding against SEC letdowns

    Auburn and Missouri are competing for the Southeastern Conference title Saturday, and possibly a chance to play for the national championship. Yet both teams have to guard against a letdown. Both are coming off emotionally charged victories last week that gave each coach a reason to fret a bit.

    Ohio State offensive linesman Marcus Hall walks the sidelines after being ejected during the second quarter of last Saturday’s game at Michigan.

    Ohio State lineman benched for Big Ten title game

    Ohio State coach Urban Meyer will not let right guard Marcus Hall start Saturday night’s Big Ten championship game against No. 10 Michigan State. The move comes less than a week after Hall was ejected in the win over archrival Michigan and made an obscene gesture to Wolverines fans.

    Robinson Cano reportedly has agreed to a $240 million, 10-year contract to play for Seattle.

    Cano would be anchor for Mariners’ lineup

    Even as the Seattle Mariners were remaining silent about a potential deal with free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, the New York Yankees were ready to move on. “He was a great Yankee. He was a great player. I think everybody tried hard to get the deal done. We just never got close enough obviously," said managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner. ESPN reported that Cano and Seattle had reached agreement on a $240 million, 10-year contract pending a physical.

    Jalen Brunson

    Basketball: Week 1 MVPs

    Stevenson junior guard Jalen Brunson has been named Daily Herald MVP for his efforts in the early stages of the high school basketball season. Brunson helped Stevenson to a 4-0 record in tournament play at Buffalo Grove and was named tourney MVP after scoring 26 points in the Patriots’ finale against the host Bison.

    Taylor Will

    Basketball: Week 1 MVPs

    Prospect junior guard Taylor Will has been named Daily Herald MVP for her efforts in the early stages of the high school basketball season. Will averaged 26.2 points in five games at York and tied the school record with 37 points in a win over Wheaton North.

    The New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson batted .229 with seven homers and 15 RBIs this year, when wrist and hand injuries limited him to 61 games.

    Source: Granderson, Mets reach $60M deal

    Curtis Granderson is heading across town, where the New York Mets hope his home run swing won’t suffer at Citi Field. The free-agent outfielder agreed to a $60 million, four-year contract with the Mets, according to a person familiar with the situation.

    Scott Feldman delivers a pitch against the Mets on June 15. The Cubs traded Feldman to Baltimore in July.

    Astros sign former Cub Feldman

    Right-hander Scott Feldman signed a three-year deal Friday to become the veteran presence in the Houston Astros rotation. Feldman, who will turn 31 just before spring training begins, was 12-12 with a 3.86 ERA in 30 combined starts for the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore last season.

    Houston head coach Gary Kubiak watches his team play Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans fired Kubiak Friday.

    Texans fire coach Kubiak

    Gary Kubiak pulled the Texans out of the NFL basement and remains the only coach to take them to the playoffs. That wasn’t enough to save his job, not with the Texans mired in an 11-game skid that has dropped them back to the bottom of the league.


    Vikings rule QB Ponder out against Ravens

    The Minnesota Vikings have ruled Christian Ponder out for Sunday’s game at Baltimore, because the quarterback has not yet passed all of his post-concussion tests.


    Temple to cut 7 sports

    Temple University will cut seven varsity sports next year, including baseball, softball and men’s crew, to save $3 million and address gender gaps in its distribution of scholarship money.


    NIU’s new husky mascot from Marengo

    Northern Illinois University’s new husky mascot is coming from a dog breeder in Marengo. The school said last month that it was retiring Diesel the husky dog after nine years. He’ll be replaced by a 2-year-old husky named Mission.


    Game video: Barrington vs. Schaumburg
    Schaumburg meets Barrington Friday night in a boys-girls basketball doubleheader. Follow the action here with video from High School Cubs, then come back later for the replay and highlights.


    Game video: West Aurora vs. Glenbard East
    West Aurora meets Glenbard East Friday night in boys basketball action. Follow the game here with video from High School Cube, then come back later for the replay and highlights.

    After 17 major league seasons, 38-year-old Paul Konerko is coming back for one more with the White Sox in a part-time role.

    Konerko makes a better coach than player

    Paul Konerko is returning for one final year in a limited role as a first baseman and designated hitter for the White Sox. While he also will act as a mentor for some of the younger players, Mike North says it would have been better for the team if he would have returned as a coach only.

    The Bulls’ Luol Deng runs into traffic from the Heat’s LeBron James and Mario Chalmers on Thursday at the United Center.

    Bulls continue regular-season Heat hex

    Go ahead and turn those playoff dreams back on, Bulls fans. Early Thursday, Derrick Rose met the media for the first time since having surgery on his right knee and refused to rule out a playoff comeback. Then the Bulls did what they usually do: rise to the occassion in the regular season against Miami. The Bulls led by as many as 25 points and beat the Heat at the United Center.



    Ex-executive indicted in Texas cancer fund scandal

    “The evidence indicated that they were unaware their grant had bypassed the required review committees,” Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmnberg said.

    Jim Dobbs, left, helps pull a tractor trailer rig out of a ditch Friday in Henderson, Ark.

    Ice storm snarling deliveries nationwide

    “Really with this event, we are looking at it almost like we would a hurricane,” said Lucas McDonald, a senior emergency manager for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Knowing hazardous conditions were coming, the company shipped extra merchandise to stores ahead of the storm.“As we get to this point, in some cases we have had to take our drivers off the road, and so that’s OK because we’ve already got the merchandise there,” said McDonald, a former TV meteorologist.

    Trader Gregory Rowe checks prices as he works Friday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

    Stock market jumps after strong jobs report

    All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose. Industrial stocks and others that tend to rise the most when the economy is growing posted some of the biggest gains.

    Tangerines suffer some freeze Friday even though misters are running to avoid as much damage as possible in Orange Cove, Calif.

    California citrus growers fighting cold spell

    Citrus farmers are no stranger to cold and use irrigation and wind machines to propel warm air through the fields and raise the temperature by several degrees after nightfall. Farmers are on the lookout once temperatures drop to 28 degrees and anything in the low-20s is critical, said Bob Blakely, the association’s director of industry relations.

    A golden eagle flies over a wind turbine in Wyoming. The Obama administration will allow companies to seek authorization to kill and harm bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty in an effort to balance some of the environmental trade-offs of green energy.

    For wind power, U.S. extends permit for eagle deaths

    The Obama administration will allow companies to seek authorization to kill and harm bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty in an effort to balance some of the environmental trade-offs of green energy. The change, requested by the wind energy industry and officially revealed Friday, will provide legal protection for the life span of wind farms and other projects that obtain a permit and do everything possible to avoid killing the birds.


    EU raids electronics companies in prices probe

    European Union antitrust regulators have raided the offices of several companies that make and sell consumer electronics and domestic appliances, in an investigation into whether they artificially boosted the prices of goods online.

    Genetic testing company 23andMe Inc. will comply with a Food and Drug Administration directive to stop selling health-related genetic tests during a regulatory review.

    23andMe to follow FDA order to halt test sales

    Genetic testing company 23andMe Inc. will comply with a Food and Drug Administration directive to stop selling health-related genetic tests during a regulatory review. 23andMe’s saliva-based test kit, launched more than 5 years ago, claims to tell customers if they are at risk for more than 250 diseases and health conditions. The FDA says only medical tests that have been cleared by the government are permitted to make such claims.

    Protesters hold placards and banners during a protest march against the World Trade Organization (WTO) outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Indonesia is hosting the WTO Ministerial Conference from Dec. 3- 6.

    WTO trade deal makes progress

    A possible World Trade Organization deal is moving closer to approval after one of the biggest holdups on food subsidies was set aside following hours of global negotiations that went late into the night.

    U.S. consumers increased their spending in October even though their wages and salaries barely increased, raising questions about how strong the economy will grow at the end of the year.

    U.S. consumer spending up 0.3 percent in October

    U.S. consumers increased their spending in October even though their wages and salaries barely increased, raising questions about how strong the economy will grow at the end of the year.

    Sears is separating its Lands’ End business from the rest of the company. Sears has spun off other businesses, including its Hometown and Sears Outlet stores, to raise cash.

    Sears to spin off Lands’ End business

    Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp. said Friday that it will spin off its Lands’ End clothing business as a separate company by distributing stock to the retailer’s shareholders. It’s the latest move by the struggling retailer to turn around its results as it faces wider losses and increasingly displeased investors.

    Jimmetta Smith of Lithonia, Ga., right, the wife of a U.S. Marine veteran, holds her resume while talking with Rhonda Knight, a senior recruiter for Delta airlines, at a job fair for veterans and family members at the VFW Post 2681, in Marietta, Ga. The Labor Department says employers added 203,000 jobs, nearly matching October’s revised gain of 200,000.

    U.S. unemployment falls to 7 pct. on 203K jobs added

    A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate in November to a five-year low of 7 percent. The surprisingly robust job gain suggested that the economy may have begun to accelerate. It also fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve will scale back its economic stimulus when it meets later this month. Employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October, the Labor Department said Friday.

    President Barack Obama’s fickle health insurance website is finally starting to put up some respectable signup numbers, but its job only seems to have gotten harder. Two months in and out of the repair shop have left significantly less time to fulfill the White House goal of enrolling 7 million people for 2014 by the end of open enrollment March 31.

    Obama’s fixer-upper website races to catch up

    It looks like President Barack Obama’s fickle health insurance website is finally starting to put up some respectable signup numbers, but its job only seems to have gotten harder. Two months in and out of the repair shop have left significantly less time to fulfill the White House goal of enrolling 7 million people by the end of open enrollment on March 31.

    The Westin O’Hare in Rosemont is starting the second phase of a $22 million renovation project.

    Rosemont’s Westin O’Hare continues $22 million renovation

    As The Westin O’Hare marks its 25th anniversary in 2014, it announced Thursday that it’s starting the second phase of a $22 million renovation that will include transforming its lobby lounge into a Starbucks cafe.

Life & Entertainment

    Animal performers will be featured at the “Circus Spectacular” show, coming to the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Friday, Feb. 21, through Sunday, Feb. 23.

    ‘Circus Spectacular’ to hit Sears Centre
    Tickets for the "Circus Spectacular" show at the Sears Centre Arena, running Friday, Feb. 21, through Sunday, Feb. 23, go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9.

    Macklemore, left, and Ryan Lewis perform “Can’t Hold Us” with Ray Dalton at the MTV Movie Awards in Sony Pictures Studio Lot in Culver City, Calif. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are among the clear favorites as The Recording Academy prepares to unveil its Grammy nominees on Friday.

    Will newcomers dominate Grammys this year?

    Not a lot of fans knew who Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Lorde were when last we gathered a year ago to celebrate music with the Grammy Award nominations. Yet thanks to a series of inescapable and smart hits, these upstarts could very well match Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift and other Grammy favorites when nominees are announced Friday night in a television special airing live from Los Angeles on CBS (10 p.m. EST).

    Kenny Rogers delivers his “Christmas & Hits Through The Years” holiday show to North Central College in Naperville.

    Holiday concerts in the suburbs dish up a big dose of Christmas

    Holiday shows in the suburbs this season are as plentiful as colorful ornaments dangling from a Christmas tree. Local audiences can celebrate with everyone from country superstars Martina McBride, Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd to pianist/composer John Tesh, brother-and-sister duo Donny and Marie Osmond and rocker Chris Isaak.

    Bold colors and whimsical decorating touches emphasize the playful side of holiday celebrations in this mantle styled by the designer Brian Patrick Flynn for HGTV.com.

    Ask a designer: Change it up for the holidays

    The holiday season is synonymous with tradition. But that doesn’t mean you have to fill your home with the same holiday decorations in the same color scheme every year.

    Associated Press/NBC Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer play Maria and Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music Live!.”

    Broadway wins in live ‘Sound of Music’

    Whew, that was nerve-wracking, right? All those kids and staircases, pillow fights, candles and dancing. But somehow the cast and crew of NBC’s three-hour live telecast of “The Sound of Music” pulled it off Thursday night with only a trodden-on dress, some inconsistent sound levels and a flubbed few words.

    Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) uses his power to control magnetism to take revenge upon a Nazi doctor in "X-Men: First Class."

    New 'X-Men' movie coming in 2016

    The “X-Men” franchise will get another boost in 2016 with the release of “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Veteran “X-Men” director and producer Bryan Singer hinted at the next installment via Twitter on Thursday when he wrote, “#Xmen #Apocalypse 2016!”

    British musician Phil Collins announced Wednesday in Miami Beach that his nonprofit will help South Florida children with artistic and athletic dreams to fulfill their potential.

    Phil Collins says he is writing songs again

    Phil Collins, the former Genesis drummer whose earnest ballads made him a star in the 1980s, is penning songs again. Although he dreads the idea of extended touring because it would take him away from his five children, Collins says he has missed the creativity of music since he retired in 2010.


    Theater events: 'Side Effects' performances raise funds for research

    MadKap Productions brings "Side Effects May Include.." to Clockwise Theatre; Steppenwolf opens "Tribes" and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble cancels the remainder of its 2013-2014 season this week in Chicago area theater.

    Mick Jagger and fashion designer L’Wren Scott arrive at the Banana Republic L’Wren Scott Collection launch party Tuesday at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, Calif. L’wren Scott, who launched the limited-edition Banana Republic L’Wren Scott Collection Wednesday, says it will wrap her signature flattering construction and extraordinary fabrics into a package that will cost less than $200.

    Banana Republic’s red carpet out for L’Wren Scott

    L’Wren Scott is no stranger to sequins. Party dressing is part of everyday life for this fashion designer, celebrity stylist and girlfriend of Mick Jagger. She launches the limited-edition Banana Republic L’Wren Scott Collection this week, and Scott says it will wrap her signature flattering construction and extraordinary fabrics into a package that will cost less than $200.

    Martini Room’s Naughty Santa is made with rum, melon liqueur and blue Curacao.

    Suburban bars fete the season with holiday cocktails

    With chilly weather solidly upon us, it can be hard to muster enthusiasm for going out. But local bars are rewarding those who bundle up with a taste of the season, serving up hot cocktails and drinks filled with seasonal flavor to provide some holiday cheer.

    There are more than 60 miles of groomed cross-country and snowshoe trails around Aspen and Snowmass, open to all comers and among a number of free things to see and do in the area.

    Even in peak ski season, Aspen has some freebies

    A trip to Aspen during peak ski season is going to set you back some cash. But even those who can afford the posh Colorado mountain town will enjoy checking out what’s free, from high-altitude adventures to creature comforts.

    Blues and greens — in more tints and shades than ever before — will join gray as a popular paint choice in the coming year.

    Gray looks to be a top paint color for 2014
    Gray — the color that connotes intellect — is one hue homeowners will be incorporating into their home interiors next year. So says Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute.


    Simple tips for covering your windows

    We all have windows, and they are designed to let in air and sunshine. But we also need to cover those windows sometimes to keep the air and sunshine out — not to mention for privacy. There are some simple solutions, and we have some super tips for measuring and installing window coverings.


    Fraudulent home inspector revealed

    Q.My home inspection included environmental tests for radon, mold, and water analysis. No problems were reported. Recently, I contacted the laboratories whose names were on the inspection report. All of these companies sent letters stating they have no records of performing tests for my address.


    Homeowners should act fast to slash upcoming income tax bill

    Paying your January mortgage bill and the second installment of your property taxes now can trim your income taxes or fatten your refund when April arrives.


    Gilbert R. Boucher II/gboucher@dailyherald.com An election judge assembles voting booths in Vernon Hills in this file photo.

    Editorial: Care about government? Time to pay attention

    A Daily Herald editorial says voters need to start paying attention now that it is officially election season.

    The Rev. Jim Swarthout

    Compassion needed for the depressed, suicidal

    Guest columnist the Rev. Jim Swarthout: An open understanding of suicide should help us all walk more humbly and compassionately in grace and community, resisting the bias of the strong and unreflective who make the unfair judgment that people who are sick want to be that way.


    Thanksgiving Day shopping insults traditions
    A letter to the editor:


    Entire community benefits from good schools
    A Mundelein letter to the editor: I must disagree with the premise that seniors and other property owners that do not have children in the school system should be exempt from paying school taxes.


    Don’t fall for campaign against ACA
    An Arlington Heights letter to the editor: When I read the Fencepost letters it is all too common to see the same few names signed to letters attacking the Affordable Care Act. If you believe them, the ACA is a “disaster” and an intrusion of government.


    Democrats said no to many ACA changes
    A Hoffman Estates letter to the editor: Over 100 amendments proposed that protect taxpayers, businesses, veterans and more. Fair treatment across the board — all voted down by the Dems.


    How to safeguard our privacy rights
    A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: In read the Nov. 26 editorial, “Crime-fighting tool needs safeguards,” which reported on local police departments’ use of controversial Automatic License Plate Recognition, with mixed feelings. Being of the younger generation, I’m used to a world that knows what I’m doing. From geotagging our tweets to spotting cameras in every corner, my generation has grown up in the eye of the lens.


    Health care needed only minor reform
    A Wheaton letter to the editor: Reader Jerry Loftis’ comments, “Is Tea Party motto: ‘Do As I say’?,” of Nov. 15, are a classic example of what brings me amazement each morning from low information voters.


    In defense of bishop’s letter
    A Batavia letter to the editor: In response to letter writer Angel Llavona’s comments about Bishop Malloy’s “disappointing letter read to us during Mass,” the bishop is following the Catholic Church’s definitive teaching on the subject of homosexuality. That is what he is supposed to do as the leader of the teachings of the Catholic Church in his diocese.


    Might as well throw money into the trash
    A Sleepy Hollow letter to the editor: On Nov. 8, the Daily Herald business section reported that the IRS refunded $4 billion to identity thieves, including 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania.


    How was texting story news?
    A Sleepy Hollow letter to the editor: OMG! I know absolutely nothing about Carpentersville civic issues but I couldn’t believe what I read as a “news” article in Nov. 22’s Daily Herald. (“Texts nothing to LOL about?”) Harassment? Really?


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